Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Fix the National Laboratories


The Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Laboratories are a core engine of the U.S. national innovation system but one in urgent need of a tune-up if the United States is to meet the pressing challenges of energy security and climate change mitigation. The next administration and Congress must modernize the policy framework shaping the National Labs to allow them to more effectively drive the innovation necessary to meet energy policy priorities.

The seventeen National Labs, which have an annual budget of about $14 billion, are owned by the government and (with one exception) operated by external, independent contractors. The Labs are widely recognized as invaluable resources to the nation. They played an important role in the Manhattan project, in the development of energy technologies — including nuclear power, solar power, and shale gas technology — and continue to advance the frontiers of science in areas such as high energy physics, scientific computing, cyber security and quantum cryptography. Recently, Congress has renewed its interest in addressing long-standing issues in Lab management. Our research (described in a recent article in Nature Energy) highlights worrying trends in Lab performance related to energy innovation and outlines steps we believe are required to improve performance....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Anadon, Laura Diaz, Gabe Chan, Amitai Bin-Nun, Venkatesh Narayanamurti.“How to Fix the National Laboratories.” The National Interest, October 25, 2016.

The Authors

Laura Diaz Anadon